Every Project Team Needs a Whale

Every project team needs a member who can add the most important element to the success of any team: compassion.


I was introduced to a very simple model for understanding the human dynamic within teams by Troy McClain (themcclaincompanies.com). I met Troy about eight years ago at a conference where we are both speaking. Troy was one of the last to stand in the first year of ‘The Apprentice’. He comes with a lot of ‘street smarts’ and general wisdom about people and team dynamics.



Troy’s model presents a fish tank with four species: shark, whale, dolphin and sea urchin. I love to touch on this model briefly in some of the workshops I do because it provides us with a very simple, easy-to-use, way to understand the different personalities we are dealing with both professionally and sometimes even personally.


Troy suggests that each one of these species plays an important role in the team dynamics within any project environment. But the one that I think is so important, not just to the success of the project but more importantly, to the culture that our projects are contributing to is the whale.


The whale brings compassion and empathy to our environment. The whale softens the direct approach of the shark and gives the whole team someone to go to when they need advice, assistance or just an understanding ear.


Nurturing, social, non-aggressive, open, honest and friendly. What would we do without them?


If you are the whale at work or at home God bless you. If you have a whale in your life take a moment to say thank you. Without them our lives would be a lot different.


images provided courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net


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